So I did it, did it well and had a great time and I'm pulling the memories out like a lovesick teenager replays a conversation from the lunch room (well OK, I'm still known to do that as well, but that's beside the point.).
The race was amazing and if you're at all thinking of getting into a fitness plan but shy away from competitive sports I highly recommend races. The most surprising part to me was the sense of community I found. My mother used to always scoff at me for being such a "joiner" but I always seek community, wherever I land, and the race did not disappoint. Everywhere I looked there were people running or walking with friends and family to encourage them along. I passed several pairs and groups of people with obvious experienced members running backwards or stopping and starting to keep their less-trained friends going. My own fan club sent a representative to the half-way point to cheer me on. I made it quite clear at the beginning that I did not want anyone to run along with me, this was my mountain to climb and I intended to do it on my own.
I suspected that I'd do better with people around but wasn't exactly sure. Having so many people to watch, to pace myself with made the run more interesting and the 2 mile point sneaked up on me. For the first time , I ran 34 minutes without stopping to walk once and I felt terrific at the end.
Perhaps only second to my own pride and sense of accomplishment was the thrill of having friends there to support me and my son to watch Mommy face something that was scary and do it anyway. That's a lesson I could never teach any other way.
I look at photos from the day and realize "I'm actually a runner. I'm in a race - with a number pinned to my chest." Unbelievable. More surprising are the other changes I am seeing. When I drive past runners or see them go by the house, I'm envious and want to jump up and go with them. In the past, they'd just be part of the scenery but now I feel like a part of what they're doing. I am also able to face other challenges, personal and athletic, with a little bit more patience. Everything has it's own endurance level, it's a matter of building up to it over time.
And so, what next? When I started this I thought it might be a lark. I'll do the race and add it to the list of challenges I've overcome, perhaps just under the skydiving and above the singing a solo to an audience. But now, I feel that this has become a part of my list of things I'll do for fun and I'm looking for the next chance to get out there and try to beat the 34. I found a local running club and tomorrow night I'll run 3.65 miles in a prediction race.
I'm predicting I'll love it.
(And finish in 44 minutes)